To say that Dorothea Lange led a full life is an understatement. She led and extraordinary life and it is a fascinating tale. As you will see, she was an amazing person, charming and likeable, but also a person with just as many hardships as the subjects of her work. Dorothea Margaretta Nutzhorn’s story begins on May 26, 1895 in Hoboken, New Jersey. She was born at home and was the first born to second generation German emigrants Heinrich and Johanna Nutzhorn. Heinrich and Johanna were still newlyweds, having been married in 1894. Dorothea’s father, Henry, was an accomplished lawyer having passed the bar in New Jersey in 1891 and immediately opened a practice with a partner. After some time in Hoboken, and after the birth of Dorothea he moved his family to the prestigious town of Wehawken. Joan was every bit the wife of a well to do lawyer, being able to stay home, but yet employing the services of a maid to handle the domestic affairs of the home. Dorothea also enjoyed the privileges of her father’s work. Both her parent’s valued literature and education (Dorothea Lange A Life Beyond Limits). She was often taken to the theater to watch Shakespeare and was exposed to the art world at a very young age. She would eventually use this exposure to her advantage. Unfortunately, tragedy struck when Dorothea was 7. She contracted polio before the polio epidemic struck America and when there was little in which to treat it. She was very fortunate to escape with her life, but not completely unscathed. The disease left her with a twisted right foot and a stiff lower leg. She walked with a limp for the rest of her life, but she refused to allow it to slow her down. Of her ailment she has been quoted as saying, “I think it was the most important thing that happened to me, and formed me, guided me, instructed me, helped me and humiliated me” (Dorothea Lange A Life Beyond Limit). Dorothea became a sister in 1901. Her
Cited: Abbey, Susannah. My Hero Project. 2010. 6 December 2012 <www.myhero.com/go/hero.asp?hero=d_lange>. Gordon, Linda. Dorothea Lange A Life Beyond Limits. W. W. Norton & Company, 2009. Lange Fellowship. 23 November 2012 <www.berkeley.edu/lange/lange.html>. Meltzer, Milton. Dorothea Lange A photographer 's Life. Farrar Straus Giroux, 1978. Partridge, Elizabeth. Dorothea Lange A Visual Life. Smithsonian Institution Press, 1994. —. Restless Spirit The Life and Work of Dorothea Lange. The Penguin Group, 1998.